New Vintage Ensemble reinvents theatre classic ‘Our Town’ at Scranton Cultural Center April 27-May 5
From a press release:
With a mission of reinventing the familiar, the New Vintage Ensemble is set to delight audiences with a fresh interpretation of an American theatre classic.
Featuring new costumes, music, digital projection, and creative performances, the local theatre group will present “Our Town” by Thornton Wilder, in partnership with the Scranton Cultural Center and by special arrangement with Samuel French, on Friday, April 27 through Saturday, May 5 at the SCC’s Shopland Hall (420 N. Washington Ave., Scranton).
Celebrating its 80th anniversary since its original debut, the Pulitzer Prize-winning “Our Town” remains an iconic piece of American drama that is often taught in high school English classrooms around the country.
“I think, in many ways, this a piece that deserves greater appreciation and justice,” director Conor Kelly O’Brien said. “When you mention ‘Our Town’ to anyone who had to study it as part of their high school drama or English curriculum, you’re likely to get an eye roll. The piece is challenging, but beautiful and underappreciated.”
O’Brien’s choice of “Our Town” as his next project with the New Vintage Ensemble was a personal one, as it was one of his first theatre performances as an actor. When given the opportunity to direct “Our Town,” O’Brien leapt at the opportunity.
As for what audiences can expect, O’Brien hopes that New Vintage Ensemble’s treatment of the work will redeem it in the eyes of anyone who felt challenged by it as part of their schoolwork. He notes that the NVE creates a Grover’s Corners unlike one audiences may have seen before.
“We’ve done a lot with pacing and styling to really make some of those scenes move faster. They’re much more dynamic and interesting,” he explained. “We also use musical underscoring and digital projection that draws directly from the text to create this setting that’s independent of time and place. The costumes by Simone Daniel are also very striking.”
O’Brien adds that audiences can also expect stellar performances from the cast.
“They demonstrate so much hard work and dedication,” he noted. “They deliver beautiful performances.”
Showtimes are on Friday, April 27 at 8 p.m., Saturday, April 28 at 8 p.m., Friday, May 4 at 8 p.m., and Saturday, May 5 at 3 p.m. and 8 p.m. Tickets start at $15 and are available through Ticketmaster and at the Fidelity Bank Box Office at the SCC.
“Our Town” cast and crew list:
Stage Manager – Maggie O’Brien
Emily Webb – Kimmie Leff
George Gibbs – Tim McDermott
Dr. Gibbs – Sarah Regan
Joe and Si Crowell/Rebecca Gibbs – Izzy Deflice
Mrs. Gibbs – Chantel Mitchell
Mrs. Webb – Alicia Nordstrom
Mr. Webb/Howie Newsome – Dave Spitzer
Simon Stimson – Casey Thomas
Mrs. Soames – April Holgate
Constable Warren/Joe Stoddard – Art Walsh
Wally Webb/Sam Craig – Will Krisanda
Professor Willard/Among the Dead – Celine Carter
Director: Conor Kelly O’Brien
Stage Manager: Kathleen Barrett
Assistant Stage Manager: Mary-Pat DeFlice
Supervising Producer: Mollie Dooley
Costume Designer: Simone Daniel
Marketing: Mandy Pennington
Production Photographer: Brent Pennington
Production Graphic Designer: Jess Meoni
Founded in 2013, the New Vintage Ensemble is a collective of actors from Northeastern Pennsylvania dedicated to producing innovative and interactive theater while helping the art community of the greater Scranton region thrive. Their distinctive style and passion for engaging audiences has resulted in award-winning and internationally-recognized productions (“Pride & Prejudice,” 2013), as well as regional premieres of original works.
The Scranton Cultural Center at the Masonic Temple is a hub for cultural events, regional performances, and community engagement for all of NEPA. It plays host to national tours of Broadway musicals and concerts, as well as national and regional artists.
Watch or listen to Episode 48 of the NEPA Scene Podcast with NVE members Casey Thomas and Kimmie Leff to learn more about the theatre group and its recent production of the original play “#vanlife:”
Photo by Brent Pennington/New Vintage Ensemble